Roseanne BarrWith all the talk (arguing?) about Obama and Romney I sometimes think we've forgotten all about our independent and third-party candidates. It's as if without Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, or Ross Perot (remember him?), those third parties don't even exist! But they're still around, and there are some compelling reasons to consider giving them your vote.
Obviously none of these third party candidates stand a ghost of a chance of winning the presidential election this year. But the more votes they get, the more campaign funds their parties potentially get next election season. And a vote for a third party candidate can be a protest against the partisan gridlock of a two-party system. So let's meet some of those candidates to see what they're all about.
As you can see, the list of third-party and independent candidates is long. But here's a few highlights:
Peace and Freedom Party. Remember when Roseanne Barr announced her candidacy for President of the United States? She was serious, and her running mate is anti-war activist (and mother of slain Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan) Cindy Sheehan. Their platform supports free education from Pre-K through university, equal rights in the workplace, an end to U.S. interventions around the world, and free access to health care for all. They support the right to unionize, and they support gay and trans-gender rights. They advocate for a much more progressive tax system.
Libertarian Party. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and former Superior Court Judge (CA) Jim Gray head up this ticket. The Libertarian party seeks to remove government from as much of our private lives as possible. The platform supports the right to life, the right to liberty of speech and action, and the right to property. The Libertarian platform is strongly in favor of a free market with few regulations except those that protect property.
Green Party. Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts and Cheri Honkala of Pennsylvania are running for this party. As you can probably guess, the Green party focuses primarily on ecology and sustainability issues. But the party also supports a very progressive social agenda with the thought that equality and human rights help make our world more sustainable.
The Constitution Party ticket includes former Congressman Virgil Goode (Virginia) for president and Jim Clymer for vice president. The party's platform is both socially and fiscally conservative, with a very strict interpretation of the Constitution and strong support for state's rights.
Despite what you hear (ahem), socialism seems to be very popular, at least among aspiring presidential candidates. There's the Party of Socialism and Liberation, the Socialist Party USA, Socialist Equality party, and the Socialist Workers party. And did you know there's a Prohibition Party? People are still trying to make that happen!
So there you go. If you're still undecided, now you have a few more candidates and parties to choose from. Who knows, maybe there's a party here you'll like than the Democrats or the Republicans.
Have you ever voted for a third party?
Image via Peace and Freedom Party